Jul 112014
 
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By billierosie

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

Sorry, Percy Bysshe Shelley, it ain’t gonna happen.

Forget it. If that special something is missing, she won’t want to kiss you. Your lips will repel her. Your breath will disgust her. She won’t fall into your arms—no matter how much you weave your magic with those wonderful words—it’s just not going to work.

Am I talking about love? Lust? Sexual Attraction? Infatuation? Passion? I don’t know. I’m probably talking about all of them.

Love—unrequited love. Thousands and thousands of words have been written about it, by pens far more graceful and elegant than mine.

And the songs. Memories. Tears. We all have our favourites. Beautiful words, melodies, rhythms and harmonies, reminding us of that one time that special something happened. Making us yearn for it to happen again.

Thousands of Romance writers re-write the same story, over and over again. He’s a bastard. She falls in love with him, despite herself. The reader is in love with him, too. The reader is addicted to the re-telling of the story. The reader believes in that elusive something.

Nobody can bottle it, for sure; that thing that makes it happen. Perfume distillers with all their ancient skills have tried to capture it for centuries. It cannot be done.

If that something is missing, then it can’t be found.

A friend of mine, Lucy, had a guy doing some building work in her house. They started talking—she touched his hand…

Within a second they were in each other’s arms. Within another second their tongues were in each others’ mouths—it happened, just like that. No need to analyse it; there’d be no point anyway. That mysterious, elusive thing had happened.

Time stood still. The overworked phrase suddenly made sense.

What was it? Raw lust? I don’t know; neither does Lucy.

Lucy and the builder are still together, two years later.

But it can hit you at any time. I do believe it. Eyes meet across a crowded room/restaurant/rock festival. And he/she is there. The One. It may only last for an hour, or days. For some it can last a lifetime.

But what is IT? Where is IT? Why does one person make our juices flow, cocks stand to attention, while another person leaves us, well…flaccid and dry?

So I guess I have ended up talking about lust. Does lust come first? (pun intended).

Sometimes it smoulders, long and low. Think of all those office Christmas parties. Folks who, it seems, have barely spared a glance for each other all through the long year, are suddenly together. Alcohol lowers the inhibitions, and it hits you.

That happened to me, long ago. It took twenty years to burn itself out.

Then months ago, I was convinced it was going to happen again. A guy I knew from a long while back. But when we kissed there was nothing. Nada. Rien.

I felt sad, cheated, disappointed.

So did he…

***

billierosie has been writing erotica for about three years. She has been published by Oysters and Chocolate, in The Wedding Dress. Logical Lust accepted her story “Retribution” for Best S&M 3. She has also been published by Sizzler, in Pirate Booty and in their Sherlock Holmes anthology, My Love of all that is Bizarre, as well as Hunger: A Feast of Sensual Tales of Sex and Gastronomy and Sex in London: Tales of Pleasure and Perversity in the English Capital. She also has a collection of short, erotic stories, Fetish Worship, as well as novellas Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Enslaving Eli, both published by Sizzler Editions in 2012 and available for purchase at Amazon.
billierosie can be found at Twitter, @jojojojude and at her blog.

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May 052014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By Sarah Bella

Ultimately, to me, the difference between a sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter is the intention of the characters. Are they just in it to get their rocks off? Nothing wrong with that, if so—some of my favorite scenes are pure erotica. On the other hand, if they’re looking to bond and grow with their partner, that bonding and growth is where I find the romance.

While the intentions of the characters in an erotic scene may define its level of romance, their overall stories may or may not. You can have a pair of strangers meet in a club and still have a romantic scene in the back hall of said club. In that same vein, a committed couple can absolutely have a sexual encounter completely devoid of romance.

So, then, what exactly do you write into your sexual encounters to define, maintain or escalate their romance? Constant declarations of love? Paragraphs of purple prose? I tend to have my characters turn inward—to focus not just on the physical experience of sex, but all the emotions that accompany it: the closeness they feel, the tenderness, that chest-bursting happiness they can’t get enough of.

In my latest book, Megan’s Desire, Megan finally drops her defenses one night, allowing herself and her maybe-boyfriend Tate to reach each other emotionally in a new and powerful way. Physically speaking, the scene below is 100% sex, but because we are kept intimately apprised of everything Megan thinks and feels, we can see how her connection to Tate grows in those moments:

Megan opened her legs, soft, warm, need, filling her—taking over.  Her fingers traced the ropes of muscle in his arms.  The very nearness of him soothed some primal need inside her.  The maleness of him, meeting some unspoken need.

“You’re so beautiful like this, just waiting for me.” He pressed inside her; Megan relished the slow burn, the ache-quenching slide of him inside her.

He slid his knees beneath her butt and gripped her hips, plowing inside her.

Megan gripped the headboard above her, locked elbows saving her from a bed-induced headache.  The new angle hit everything she needed it to.  She hooked her legs around his waist, heels forcing him in deeper with each thrust.

Tate stared down at her with lust-filled eyes.  Pure, unadulterated emotion rained down on her.  Megan soaked it up, all his adoration, his passion, his belief in her.  He wore it proudly, sharing that secret part of himself with her.

The close, the deep, the very there of him shook her.  This was so far beyond anything she was ready for….

Megan isn’t just in the moment for an orgasm—her heart is broken and she’s looking for healing, for acceptance. She finds that perfection with Tate.

 

Happy reading, ladies and gents.

♥SB

Sarah Bella is a small town Minnesota girl who calls pop by its proper name – pop. She is a multi-published author of romance and erotica who writes both novels and short stories in the romance, mystery/suspense, paranormal and erotica genres.

She loves traveling anywhere south of the equator and finds that a nice dark microbrew can help get the creative juices flowing. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Sarah with her nose buried in a book.

Sarah lives in the small town she grew up in with her husband, three children, her cat and her dog.

Find Sarah on Facebook, and her books and stories at her Amazon Author page.

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Mar 032014
 
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By Nobilis

Like anything else, kinks run in fads—especially when it comes to fiction. A few months ago, everyone was talking about the authors who sold thousands of copies of dinosaur erotica ebooks. Then it came around to bigfoot and similar creatures. I’m sure in a few months it will be something else again. While each fad was in its prime [and before Amazon started its somewhat zealous censorship campaign —ed.], those books clearly had a large array of readers who couldn’t get enough of them, and I don’t begrudge their authors a bit of their success. This is also a great thing for me, because I consider tentacle sex (one of the things I like to write) to be somewhat related to those stories. I might get a bit of a boost in sales.

And then there are the other topics I like to write about: things like growth transformations, genderfuckery and other kinds of shapeshifting. Those aren’t even close to being in fashion, and they don’t necessarily appeal to the people who would buy them for an ironic laugh. There are folks out there who like those stories, but their sub-sub-genres aren’t getting blogged at Buzzfeed, Jezebel or Io9. And that’s fine too. Maybe someday I’ll get featured in one of those big-name blogs, but I’m certainly not going to build my career around hopes of a few weeks’ worth of fame and fortune by discovering a previously unrecognized novelty niche.

Because ultimately, it’s my career. My hope is that people buy my books because they like the way I write, not solely because they like what I’m writing about. If I’m not a good writer, then they won’t come back after the first book. But if they do like my work, the subject matter isn’t as important. On a number of occasions, readers and listeners have said to me, “I never thought I’d like a tentacle-sex story, but I liked this one!” or “Lesbian sex isn’t usually my thing, but this story really caught my attention.”

That’s my favorite kind of reader. Those are the folks who will stick with me, maybe read things they otherwise wouldn’t have. I think that’s the kind of reader we all ought to aspire to attract, if we don’t already. Does anyone really want the stories they’ve written to leave their readers either vaguely disappointed or unsatisfied? To have their name forgotten when the reader goes to find something new to read? I’m not at my best when I’m trying to write to someone else’s taste, when I’m trying to imitate or emulate; I’m much better off following my own muse. So I stay with what I like to write.

Not that this type of commitment makes it easy to see someone halfheartedly knock out a series of monster-du-jour books and get lots of attention (and dough) for it—I’m not immune to a bit of success envy. But I understand on a fundamental level that the stories I tell have to be my stories.

Because otherwise, who will tell them?

—–

And now I’m going to follow that essay with a story idea, as I do every month. Please have a look at it, and decide if you can make it yours—because a story is more than idea:

What if you were born on an isolated space colony with a small population, say a hundred people or so, and discovered you really were the only person on the planet that had a particular fetish? There’s always something missing from your life—until a starship arrives, carrying someone with a brain implant allowing any fetish to be put on and taken off like a new set of clothes…

—–

Learn more about Nobilis and his work at his…

Website: www.nobiliserotica.com
Podcast: nobilis.libsyn.com
Twitter: @nobilis

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Feb 272014
 
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My name is Chris – though my pseudonym is usually M.Christian – and I have a confession to make.

I’ve written – and write – a…what’s the technical term? Oh, yeah: shitload of erotica. Some 400 published stories, 12 or so collections, 7 novels. I’ve also edited around 25 anthologies. I even have the honor of being an Associate Publisher for Renaissance eBooks, whose Sizzler Editions erotica imprint has some 1,300 titles out there.

I’ve written sexually explicit gay stories, lesbian stories, trans stories, bisexual stories, BDSM stories, tales exploring just about every kind of fetish, you name it and I can all but guarantee that I’ve written about it. I like to joke that a friend of mine challenged me to write a story to a ridiculously particular specification: a queer vampire sport tale. My answer? “Casey, The Bat.” Which I actually did write…though I dropped the vampire part of it.

Don’t worry; I’m getting to the point. I can write just about anything for anyone – but here comes the confession:

I’ve never, ever written about what actually turns me – what turns Chris – on.

This kind of makes me a rather rare beast in the world of professional smut writing. In fact it’s pretty common for other erotica writers to – to be polite about it – look down their noses at the fact that I write about anything other than my own actual or desired sexual peccadilloes. Some have even been outright rude about it: claiming that I’m somehow insulting to their interests and/or orientations and shouldn’t write anything except what I am and what I like.

To be honest, in moments of self-doubt I have thought the very same thing. Am I profiting off the sexuality of other people? Am I a parasite, too cowardly to put my own kinks and passions out into the world? Am I short-changing myself as a writer by refusing to put myself out there?

For the record, I’m a hetero guy who – mostly – likes sexually dominant women. I also find my head turned pretty quickly when a large, curvy woman walks by. That said, I’ve had wonderful times with women of every size, shape, ethnicity, and interest.

So why do I find it so hard to say all that in my writing? The question has been bugging me for a while, so I put on my thinking cap. Part of the answer, I’ve come to understand, relates directly to chronic depression: it’s much less of an emotional gamble to hide behind a curtain of story than to risk getting my own intimate desires and passions stomped flat by a critical review or other negative reaction from readers. I can handle critical reviews of a story – that’s par for the course in professional writing – but it’s a good question as to whether I could handle critical reviews of my life.

But then I had an eye-opening revelation. As I said, I’ve written – and write – stories about all kinds of interests, inclinations, passions, orientations, genders, ethnicities, ages, cultures…okay, I won’t belabor it. But the point is that I’ve also been extremely blessed to have sold everything I’ve ever written. Not only that, but I’ve had beautiful compliments from people saying my work has touched them and that they never, ever, would have realized that the desires of the story’s narrator and those of the writer weren’t one and the same.

Which, in a nice little turn-around, leads me to say that my name is Chris – though my pseudonym is usually M.Christian – and I have yet another confession to make.

Yes, I don’t get sexually excited when I write. Yes, I have never written about what turns me on. Yes, I always write under a name that’s not my legal one.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel when I write. Far from it: absolutely, I have no idea what actual gay sex is like for the participants; positively, I have not an inkling of what many fetishes feel like inside the minds of those who have them; definitely, I have no clue what it’s like to have sex as a woman…

I do, however, know what sex is like. The mechanics, yeah, but more importantly I work very hard to understand the emotions of sex and sexuality through the raw examination of my own life: the heart-racing nerves, the whispering self-doubts, the pulse-pounding tremors of hope, the bittersweetness of it, the bliss, the sorrows and the warmth of it, the dreams and memories…

I’m working on a story right now, part of a new collection. It’s erotic – duh – but it’s also about hope, redemption, change, and acceptance. I have no experience with the kind of physical sex that takes place in this story but every time I close its file after a few hours of work, tears are burning my cheeks. In part, this emotional investment is about trying to recapture the transcendent joy I’ve felt reading the work of writers I admire.

When I read manuscripts as an anthology editor, or as an Associate Publisher, a common mistake I see in them is a dedication to technical accuracy favored over emotion. These stories are correct down to the smallest detail – either because they were written from life or from an exactingly fact-checked sexual imagination – but at the end, I as the reader feel…nothing.

I’m not perfect – far from it – but while I may lack direct experience in a lot of what I write, I do work very, very hard to put real human depth into whatever I do. I may not take the superficial risk of putting the mechanics of my sexuality into stories and books but I take a greater chance by using the full range of my emotional life in everything I create.

I freely admit that I don’t write about my own sexual interests and experiences. That may – in some people’s minds – disqualify me from being what they consider an “honest” erotica writer, but after much work and introspection I contest that while I may keep my sex life to myself, I work very hard to bring as much of my own, deeply personal, self to bear upon each story as I can.

They say that confession is good for the soul. But I humbly wish to add to that while confession is fine and dandy, trying to touch people – beyond their sex organs – is ever better…for your own soul as well as the souls of anyone reading your work.

 

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Feb 062014
 
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By Elizabeth Coldwell

One of the first pieces of advice given to aspiring authors is “write what you know”. This maxim implies that if you base your writing on your own personal experiences or areas of expertise, it will give the work an air of authority and authenticity. For erotic writing, sticking to What You Know has an additional purpose: it helps you avoid mistakes in setting and detail that might turn a reader off, dragging them out of the moment you’ve worked hard to create. And then there’s basic sex-ed knowledge—if a writer lacks it when they first enter the field of erotica, they’d do well to catch themselves up as quickly as possible. Having had letters submitted to Forum from readers who seemed to believe that the penis can physically enter the womb, it seems sex education is sadly lacking in some areas.

That said, so much of erotica is based in fantasy that if we all followed this principle to the letter, a significant portion (and purpose!) of that work would disappear, much to the deep disappointment of a vast number of readers. There would be no paranormal or fantasy erotica, and the only books featuring serial murderers would be written from behind bars.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with writing from personal knowledge. When I receive a story set in, say, the theatre or the music industry, I can often tell without having to read an accompanying bio that the author has spent time in that profession. Equally, when I’ve put out a call for submissions for an anthology of historical erotica, it quickly becomes obvious that some writers have a deep love for a specific time period. Whether you’re writing about American football or the gods of Ancient Rome, you need to know enough about the game, mythology or whatever else to be convincing.

Setting your stories in a time, place or professional background which you know like the back of your hand is usually a wise move; your knowledge of these settings will impart richness, believability and fascinating detail to the rest of the story. But there are a couple of caveats: first of all, if you are writing about a subject that’s very familiar to you, it’s always important to try to avoid using too much jargon. Readers will usually know less about the setting than you do, and you want to make sure they’re along for the ride throughout your story or book. Second, if there’s so much focus on the background that the sex and characterisation become incidental to the loving description of a last-minute touchdown or the braking system of a specific kind of truck, however, then your story needs a rethink.

If you decide to write about unfamiliar subjects or places, then you’re going to need to put in some research, and there are plenty of tools that can be used to help you. You don’t have to go quite so far as Michael Shilling who, for his book about a band falling apart during a disastrous European tour, Rock Bottom, actually walked the streets of Amsterdam to see whether his characters could get from one part of the city to another in a certain amount of time. And you probably won’t be able to do the kind of research author KD Grace joked about conducting for the third book in her voyeurism and BDSM-themed Mount Trilogy series, From Rome With Lust, when she said with a theatrical sigh, “I suppose that means I’ll just have to take a holiday in Rome…”

Thanks to the internet, you don’t need to go any further than your couch or desk to find the information you need for colorful, believable settings and characters—resources like Google Maps enable you to write about a city you may never have visited, as a 360-degree panorama of almost every street in the world is now available with a click of your mouse. Libraries are also an important research tool, as they can provide a good variety of encyclopaedias and more academic or obscure reference works than you can easily (or cheaply) find online. And don’t forget TV: thanks to the many and varied documentary series available on almost every channel, you can gain insight into the lifestyles of people who do unusual jobs. Fancy making your hot, alpha hero a ghost hunter, an antiques restorer or a man who tickles catfish for a living? Then tune in, take notes and, most importantly, have fun with your writing…

 

Elizabeth Coldwell is Editor-in-chief at Xcite Books, where the titles she has edited  include the National Leather Award-winning anthology, Lipstick Lovers. As an author, she has 25 years’ experience in the field of erotica, having been published by Black Lace, Cleis Press, Sizzler Editions, Total-e-bound and Xcite Books among many others. She can be found blogging at The (Really) Naughty Corner – elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com.

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Jan 242014
 
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By Elizabeth Coldwell

Many writers will say that the hardest part of writing an erotic story is the ending. Because the aim of the genre is to arouse the reader as well as entertain them, the climax you should be building to is …er, the climax. When the sex ends, so—in the majority of cases—does the story. However, as a writer you may have the urge to round off the action in some more organic way. One of the most common ways to do this, if the characters have just had their first sexual encounter with each other, is to suggest that their climax was only the beginning, and that there’ll be more sex to come, either that night or at some point in the future.

However, another type of rounding off beloved by writers in all genres of fiction is the twist ending. Think of horror stories where a character thought dead literally returns from the grave at the end of the tale, or the many detective novels penned by Agatha Christie and her ilk where the murderer is revealed to be the very last person you expected. Twist endings to short stories have always been popular, but they had a real resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s. First, many of Roald Dahl’s most macabre stories were televised in the series Tales of the Unexpected, then a number of new women’s weekly magazines appeared, particularly Best and Bella in the UK, all of which featured a one-page story with a sting in its tail. The twists in these magazine tales grew ever more bizarre, many of the stories having a narrator who appeared to be a human until the ending revealed they were actually a household pet or even some inanimate piece of furniture.

Naturally, this trend found its way into erotic fiction—in my time as editor of Erotic Stories, I published a short story in which the BDSM action appeared to be described by the slave of a dominant mistress, chained and compelled to watch as a punishment was dished out to someone else. Only at the very end did this slave turn out to be the domina’s pet dog. As a one-off, that idea worked very well, but if every story in that issue of the magazine had had a twist, its impact would certainly have been lessened.

Some twists can ensure the story remains in the memory long after it otherwise might, but they can also risk jolting the reader out of the erotic, sensual mood you’ve worked hard to create. The wrong kind of twist can even leave them feeling slightly cheated. Whole novels have been written building up to a “shock” twist ending where, for example, the narrator turns out to be a different gender than the one the reader had assumed—and while there’s a high level of skill required to pull this gimmick off, that’s ultimately what it can seem like to the reader: a gimmick.

So do you always need a clever or surprising ending to a story? That depends. Some plots almost demand it, particularly if you’re mixing erotica with horror or suspense, but if you’re writing in the true confessions/readers’ letters style, then by definition you’re looking to get from point A to point B in the most straightforward way you can. And if you want to keep your work fresh and original, here are some surprise endings you might want to use vary sparingly:

It was All a Dream
Yes, this old chestnut still pops up in submissions piles everywhere, often with the coda that some element of the dream has found its way into the real world, like a feather that was used on the heroine, and which is lying on her pillow when she wakes. Leave this one to your school essays.

It was All a Setup
You know the score here. A master gives his submissive a spanking for flagrant misbehavior, or a woman walks in to find her boyfriend in bed with their best friend and is shocked at first, then so aroused she has to stay and watch the couple in action. The twist, of course, is that in both cases the situation has been engineered so that the naughty sub and the curious voyeuse get exactly what they wanted all along.

The Stranger was Familiar
A man is on his way to a job interview, when he’s distracted by a sexy woman flashing her panties on public transport and they find time for a quickie. A married woman in a hotel bar takes a risk and chats up the sexy man on the next barstool, ending up in his room for a passionate romp. Guess what? When the protagonist in the first scenario finally makes it to the interview, the woman conducting it is the panty-flasher, and the supposed adulteress in the second is just acting out a fantasy and the man she’s coming on to is her husband.

He was…a Vampire!
This one really needs no more explanation, but if you’re submitting to one of the many anthologies of vampire short stories that are published every year, come up with a more substantial storyline for your readers to sink their teeth into…

 

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Dec 152011
 
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* * * Permission To Forward Granted and Appreciated! * * *

January 2012 – WriteSEX: Defining Erotica

Presented by Sascha Illyvich and WriteSEX
Dates:  January 5 – 29, 2012
Deadline:  January 3, 2012
FMI:
http://lowcountryrwa.com/online-workshops/#JAN4

Course Description:

 

Sascha Illyvich, with the help of M Christian, Oceania, Jean Marie Stine, Ralph Greco, Deborah Riley Magnus and Thomas Roche, are going to explore the daunting aspects of erotica in all its forms.  Once a week we’ll discuss every aspect of writing sexy fiction from what makes a story erotic even if there is little to no sex involved.  Writers of all genres will come away with writing tips that will benefit their careers.  We’ll cover author marketing, what defines a story as erotic, things new writers need to consider and the business angle of writing erotica.

Every week we focus on a different aspect of writing erotica.  Our other authors will do own introductions.  Some of them have a rather unique way of letting you know who they are!  I’ll be covering writing style in general for starters.  For this class, we’re going to take our lessons deeper in plot, audio and marketing so that the author comes away with a more comprehensive understanding of the erotic business, be it romance or more adult oriented.

Instructor Bio:

Sascha started writing twelve years ago, releasing poetry and an occasional short erotica story before focusing on kinky erotic romance in various subgenres.  His books have been listed under the Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for the CAPA.

He is also the host of the Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata and continue to write for Renaissance E-books, and Total E-bound.  Readers can find his work, plus free reads at http://www.saschaillyvich.com

 

He is also part of the WriteSex Panel, a blog group that’s defining erotica for writers in any genre! Find us at http://www.writesex.net

 

You can register for the following on-line class through January 3.  Each class is $16.  FMI: www.lowcountryrwa.com/online-workshops/

 

Or email Online Workshop Coordinator, Veronica Alderson, alde02@knology.net using the Subject line: LRWA ONLINE WORKSHOP.  To subscribe to LRWA Online Workshop monthly mailing list, LRWAonlinecourses@yahoogroups.com

Thank you.

Veronica Alderson,
LRWA Online Workshop Coordinator
LRWA Treasurer

 

 

Cheers, Veronica

www.veronicaalderson.com

Love defies all odds…even death

Slay Me Tonight – 2009 East Texas RWA Southern Heat 2nd Place Winner

2009 MARA Fiction From the Heartland Finalist

 

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Jun 232011
 
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Last time I had the blog we talked about developing a creative personality for the mind in writing short stories

Publishing the hottest in classic and current erotica and erotic romance

The following is a high-octane problem-buster that will make child’s play of even the hardest brain-stumpers and grind down to a manageable size even the most insurmountable dilemmas. It is a development of ideas pioneered by Tony Hodgson, and others.

It’s based on the well-established finding from psychological research that the more different perspectives we bring to a problem, the more ideas we are likely to generate and the more complete our perceptions of it.

You’ve heard of seeing the world through ‘rose-colored glasses’, which cause one to see only the sunny side of things.

Imagine the effect of seeing the world through ten different pairs of colored glasses — one for each hue in the rainbow (and each different spectrum of our mental processes).

Regardless of how difficult the dilemma, you’ll have found the answer long before you’ve tried on the tenth pair. By examining a challenging circumstance through each set of ‘colored glasses’ (each different mental perspective), we achieve a complete, rather than a partial, view, and engage our minds to consider it far more deeply.

 

 

Here are the TEN COLORS

*White – cognitive, the way our mind functions when we are learning, thinking, increasing knowledge or understanding.

* Grey – factual, the way our mind functions when we are absorbing information, scanning for important and critical data.

* Yellow – opportunistic, the way our mind works when we view possibilities from a sunny cheerful, optimistic, positive point of view, and see how we can capitalize on and make the best of events and situations around us.

* Black – critical, the way our mind functions when we are serious, skeptical, analytic, seeing the potential problems on the road ahead.

* Green – creative, the way our mind functions when it sends up the shoots of fresh, new imaginative, creative, innovative new ideas.

* Brown – practical, the way our mind things when we are being down to earth, thinking things through logically, incrementally, objectively, within existing systems and assumptions.

* Blue – holistic, the way our minds work when we are looking at the big picture and engaged in strategic planning.

* Orange -molecular, the way our mind works when we are attempting to throw light on the individual parts of something, either to identify or place them.

* Violet – directive, the way our mind works when we are thinking about crucial aims, objectives, decisions, when we have arrived at a turning point or crossroads, and have to make a gut-level choice about what it is we truly want.

* Red – Opinionated, the way our mind works when we are offering our own view or seeking the views of others, and either arguing our position, debating another, or melding the two together to achieve a greater understanding or consensus.

Next time we’ll cover the last lesson from me on Developing your Creativity

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Dec 092010
 
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If you’ve done much fiction writing, it’s probably happened to you. You’re cooking along on a story or a novel, describing things as they happen. Then all of a sudden…you hit a brick wall. It’s not that you don’t know where your story goes in story terms — it’s that you don’t know how to describe what needs to happen next. I’m not talking about plot or story structure; I’m talking about scene-building and sensual details.

Let me give you an example. I recently wrote a novel that required me to know what it looked like, felt like and smelled like in about 40 different locations — on boats of one size or another, different areas of different ships, on the high seas off the east coast of South America vs. the west coast of Africa — etc. etc. etc.

The sensual details of a narrator’s experience are, to me, what are both most important and most pleasurable in the process of writing — especially writing long-form fiction like novels.

For me to enjoy writing a scene about being in the hold of a Bengali container ship, I need to have a sense of what it’s like there. My viewpoint character’s very tangible reality needs to become my reality. And yet this asshole insisted on doing crap I’d never done and going places I’d never been.

What a prick!! You believe the brass ones on this joker?

Sure, I can go back and find the memoirs of a Bengali sailor, if they exist; I can find an article about what it’s like to be on a ship; blah blah blah. I can do all of those things — but if I do them in the middle of my writing day, then the fiction doesn’t get written. Especially when I’m on a deadline, I simply can’t do all the research that is suggested by a plot that’s boiling over. That’s a sign that the plot is going swimmingly. Unfortunately, it’s also a huge pain in my ass.

This is one of the things I find most challenging about writing long-form fiction. If I’m doing it right, I run up against stuff I don’t know how to do. Some things are easy. Interpersonal stuff? Easy as pie, Bubba. I’m pretty good at imagining what it would be like for a middle-class, educated goth chick to confront her mother about her upbringing and say “You never loved me!” blah blah blah. I know what a shitty dive bar in Fresno smells like.

But as for what it feels like to jump out of a Coast Guard helicopter into storm waters off Santa Barbara, or crawl through a cave half a mile underground? I haven’t the foggiest.

People who have never written ten words of fiction, people who are seasoned fiction-writing professionals, and everyone in between, will tell you that the way to deal with this problem is to “Make it up.” That seems as obvious to them as they feel it should to me. Makes sense, right?

But “make it up,” to a fiction writer, has infinite permutations to it. The entire job description consists of “make it up,” so telling me to “make it up” is like telling a surgeon to “operate.” If you feel qualified to tell me that I should “make it up,” then you write the New York Times best-seller. Go ahead…I’m waiting.

“Make it up” is the hardest thing in the world for me when i don’t have a natural reference point for an experience. For me, with my style of composition, one detail depends on the detail before it. What kind of entrance a Bengali container ship has from the main deck to the deck below determines what it feels like to be there, to go through the entrance, to find a bunch of zombies puking green muck on you and howling, “Brains!!”

It’s awfully hard to keep a narrative flow going when you have big fat chunks of nothing in your writing. The details are not just critical in creating a finished piece of prose. To me, they’re critical in writing the next sentence. In order to get a flow going, I need to know not just whether my narrator’s boots make a clunking sound on the deck of the container ship, but what kind of clunking sound they make. I have to practically be able to hear it, and to smell the wind off the ocean as well as the dead bodies floating in the bay.

Thankfully, I’ve never smelled a San Francisco Bay choked with dead bodies — and I sure as hell hope I never do. There’s a lot of imagining and some not-imagining (aka, “research”) in figuring out just what it would smell like. If I haven’t done that before I sit down to write, I run into the potential problem of not knowing what to put down on the (virtual) page.

Of course, you can always write the “bare bones” of the action and leave the details to future rewrites, right? Easy! Easy as pie!

Yeah, I tried that.

The result? Sparkling prose. Stirring literature. Pathos! Excitement! Drama! Question marks! Stuff in brackets!

I’d end up typing whole paragraphs that looked something like this:

We ran across the ??steel?? deck and found the ??hatch?? and took the ??spiral stairs?? to ??Deck 4??, where we knew we’d find a ??med kit?? we could scavenge for ??thiopentone?? [They find zombies hiding somewhere in the nooks and crannies of whatever a bengali container ship has on its second deck [[how are decks designated on container ships again?]]]. Then the engines began to ??throb??…

Isn’t that thrilling and exciting prose? Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat. When can I expect my Pulitzer again? Actually, I think I’d prefer to win the Nebula first — then the Pulitzer. Can you just send it to my agent’s office? Thanks.

Sure, that’s not what the publisher or the reader is going to see, but that’s hardly the point. The point is, it’s no goddamn fun to write.

Maybe you’ve encountered this problem in your own writing. It could be virtually any situation; it’s the thing that brings your narrative to a grinding halt, because you’re not sure how to describe what happens next.

The only way to get through it is to get through it. The best technique I found is to make everything up — to the point of making up more details than are necessary. I superimpose other experiences that I have had — or feel like I might have had — on top of the ones I haven’t.

For me, the thing that works better rather than writing paragraphs packed with placeholders and question  marks is writing fiction packed with sensual details that are complete and utter bullshit. I know a Bengali container ship doesn’t smell like the cargo hold of a C-5, but I’ve been in the cargo hold of a C-5 and I’ve never been in a Bengali container ship.

The lesson, for me, is that going back and taking out inaccurate details is a hell of a lot easier than adding ones in over question marks and crap in brackets.

For me, whether in fiction, fantasy or reality, the sensual facts of an experience are the things I retain — sights, smells, sounds, tastes, feelings.

Yes, I do — in most cases — want these to be accurate in my final draft.

But when it comes to a first draft, those details don’t need to be accurate. They just need to be compelling.

The conclusion? “Use question marks, brackets and placeholders at your peril.” Here endeth the lesson.

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Sep 172010
 
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by oceania

click here for the audio podcast

I am going to give you a tidbit….

I received a submission recently from a woman looking for help.
She wanted to narrate erotic stories.
Her voice was unusual,
but pleasing.
So i sent her a sample to read
and that is exactly what she did.
She read every single word

My first reaction was
It’s audio!
It’s for the ears!
Don’t you realize …
and that is when i stopped in mid-thought
No, she didn’t realize!
And the majority of narrators don’t realize

This isnt grade school. We don’t read every word – We project emotion
see, As a voice talent you have some artistic license in the erotic/romance realm.
For example if you had to read the following line
“I hate you!” Clare cried.

Should you read the line word for word?
HELL NO!

Remember you are not a text reader when you record an audio story. If Clare cried you bring the water works on. If she yelled and screamed then you yell, scream and throw a temper-tantrum when you deliver the lines!

It’s fairly simple!
People want to feel the words and they wont feel them if you just read it! You have to be the words, be the story and the characters and feel the emotions!

I mean really feel it and then telegraphic them to the audience in a clear voice.

Now that is harder than it sounds and does take practice!
So if Clare cried I HATE YOU! it doesn’t make one damn bit of good if the words are muffled between sobs, or if the crying is louder than the words and requires the listener to replay the scene just to know what you said.

Keep in mind that real life may be stranger than fiction, but fiction has to be believable! Well audio has to be even more so!

Here is an example from the movies:
The room is dimly lit and sparely furnished. The drapes are open and there is a sheen on the wood floors. A woman walks across the room. She is wearing high heels. You expect to hear the click clack of those heels as she crosses the room but the sound guy, as hard as he might, cant give you the sound you want to hear. It is up to the foley expert to reproduce that sound.

You’re the foley guy!
This is performance art and should be written and then performed as such!
You have to make it believable!
There are no crutches to lean on – no pictures, no video – just your voice and the imagination of the listener.

With that kind of power you flood an stadium with orgasms.

So ready for the test?
I would like you to record the line:

“Shut up and Fuck me!”, she(or he) said whispering low.
add a link to it in the comment area below!
I look forward to your read!
Oceania

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